Based in Sausalito, California, designer Brad Krefman of BK Interior Design was tapped by a pair of suburban clients outside Chicago who wanted to retire in the city rather than outside of it. Krefman ventured to the Midwest to reimagine the couple’s outdated kitchen and living area for the 21st century — while incorporating gilded and sculptural details that referenced the early 20th-century, Art Deco style of the apartment building. Here, we talk with Krefman about his inspiration for the project, and the materials and details he used to bring his vision to life.

Modern kitchen with white cabinets and wood kitchen island with marble countertops
Photo by Mike Schwartz

Q: Who were the clients, and what did they want to achieve with the design?

A: Our clients were an empty-nest couple who moved from the suburbs to the city in their golden years. They wanted a well-functioning, but stylish, urban kitchen. The kitchen space also opens up to a breakfast and family room, where our clients spend the majority of their time.

Close up on brown wood cabinets with gray marble countertops and backsplash with gold hardware
Photo by Mike Schwartz

Q: The kitchen feels Art Deco-inspired. What motivated you to take the design in that direction?

A: The building itself is a classic Chicago Art-Deco building. The building was built in 1928, and we wanted to draw inspiration from this history but reinterpret Art-Deco style in a modern way.

Wood kitchen island with gray marble countertop and glass vase with ceramic fruit bowl

Q: Could you tell us about the materials you chose in the kitchen and why you chose them?

A: We wanted to stick with a classic combination of white, black, brass, and wood. The perimeter cabinets were kept white to recede in the background. To accent the island and the range hood, we opted for walnut. The black countertops and brass accents unify the space. The kitchen island was treated like furniture, and it features tambour paneling, a brass footrail, and a marble countertop with a reverse beveled edge.

Photo by Mike Schwartz

Q: What was the most challenging part of the project?

A: The narrowness of the kitchen was most challenging. We didn’t want this area to feel too much like a bowling alley, and keeping the perimeter cabinets white really helps the space feel more expansive. 

Living room with brown sectional and maroon leather coffee table under an abstract painting
Photo by Mike Schwartz

Q: How did you select the colors and textures for the living room?

A: We kept the large pieces in the room neutral and let the artwork dictate the splashes of color that are echoed in the decorative pillows.

Photo by Mike Schwartz

Q: What are a few of your favorite pieces from the living room, and what makes them unique?

A: The sculptural quality of the wall sconce, the colors that the artwork provides, and the suppleness of all the textiles and rug are some favorite aspects of the space. 


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November 7, 2019

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